Tuesday 2 December 2014

New poem: Danger

My father made coffee tables. He went to school furniture

dumps and brought home chemistry laboratory benches.

He turned them into coffee tables by sawing the legs down

so that the bench top was just a few inches off the floor.

He went to junk shops and discovered the marble tops

of old tables that were used in bedrooms as poor people’s

bathrooms. He brought them home, threw away the

wooden base and fixed black square metal legs to the

marble tops. My brother said that they weren’t marble,

they were carboniferous limestone. He identified the fossils

in them. Our father brought back a staffroom table. He

sawed the legs down and hired a floor sander to

sand down the top. He walked up and down the

table top till all the scratches had gone. My mother

said that he made coffee tables so that he could have

somewhere to put his droppings. ‘He never picks anything

up. He only ever puts things down.’ Some days there were

so many coffee tables in the place, it was difficult to get round

the room. When we left home, he gave my brother and me

some of the coffee tables. One time he came over with

a coffee table that he had bought for me. It looked like an

old coffee table but it had only just been made. One of my

children stuck a red sign saying ‘DANGER’ on it.